Not everyone has been designing interiors since they were 11 years old. But then again, not everyone is Claire Cavalieri.
Her father was a modernist architect in Detroit in the 1950s and 1960s. In those days, Detroit was THE place to be for modern design. Mostly because of the Cranbrook Academy where it seemed like everyone went to learn that fabulous Frank Lloyd Wright style. A style her father was an infinite fan of. His focus was mostly commercial, but, of course, he designed a killer house for his family.
It was professionally decorated by a family friend, but when it came time to decorate her room, Cavalieri’s dad let her take over. She spent the day in the designer’s showroom getting a crash course in colors, patterns, and textures and how to mix them all together in a cohesive way. That experience stuck with her. And so did a lot of the pieces she selected. They were all names you know — Eames, Bertolli, Saarinen. Over the years, they made every move she made and up until recently they were staples in her own home.
When it was time to go to college, her parents persuaded her to invest in a business degree. Eventually, she married and had a family of her own. For years, she was a professional photographer and when she needed to, Cavalieri collected a real estate license and enjoyed a very successful career. That’s because Cavalieri knew how to sell a house — what countertops to use, what colors to paint the walls, and how to arrange a room just so.
Once again, her design chops came in handy and it was a service she freely gave to her clients. Her secret weapon is walking into any room and instantly knowing what’s missing — or what needs to be edited out. Remodels and getting homes market-ready was one way she got to indulge her creativity, but last year she decided she wanted more.
With her children grown and her own home perfected, she decided it was time to take the plunge. At the end of 2019, she left Ebby Halliday and opened her very own design firm, Cavalieri Designs. It goes without saying her focus is modern design and midcentury modern more specifically. She considers herself an expert on the MCM era and she’s always been obsessed.
In the 1990s, she moved to Dallas and was looking for a particular piece. This was a time when midcentury lagged and people weren’t all about it like they are today. Except for one small group, that is. They called themselves the Modern Junkies and Cavalieri joined right in. They threw parties, had a blast, and basically “geeked out over midcentury design.” One member even went on to found Sputnik Modern. Now Cavalieri is doing her part to celebrate the era and then some.
The other part of Cavlieri’s story again goes back to her childhood. Her family is Italian and a few years ago she immersed herself in the culture. She came across a phrase — la bella figura, which translates to make things beautiful.
Her parents brought beauty to everything they did and invited friends and family along for the ride. Whether it was a party (which they threw almost every weekend), a meal, or the windows her father installed that overlooked the lake, they found a way to make life beautiful. And now, Cavalieri is out to do the same. The most beautiful thing of all? Cavalieri’s message to follow your dreams. “It’s never ever too late.”
If you’re interested in adding a little beauty to your home, reach out to Cavalieri at firstname.lastname@example.org.